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Former Members of Parliament (MPs) in the Third Parliament of the Forth Republic between the years of 2001 – 2005 have expressed misgivings about their inability to enjoy any meaningful condition of service, except to be paid only on account.
This plight they attributed to the failure of the then President, J.A. Kufuor, to activate Article 71 of the 1992 constitution to determine conditions and service of MPs.
As such, by the end of their tenure, government was owing them huge amounts of arrears. Strangely enough, government after the Hesse Committee Report was published, was reluctant to pay the MPs their arears.
Subsequently, individual members made efforts to retrieve their arrears, but government would not bulge. And some of them, led by Hon. Kosi Kedem, suggested the formation of an association to fight for the retrieval of their arrears.
Fortunately, this suggestion was accepted and a loose association was put in place. This association, with the help of a team of lawyers, successfully persuaded government to pay the MPs’ arrears in full.
This came to light during a Forum for Former Members of Parliament (FFMP) in Parliament recently.
Hon. Kosi Kedem, former MP for Hohoe South and Former President of the Association, giving the brief stated that the FFMP is a duly and fully registered NGO with the Registrar General’s Department of Ghana, with registration no. D.SW/4388.
He mentioned the date of registration as January 8 2010, and that it is also registered with the Department of Social Welfare.
Hon. Kedem stated that after the successful retrieval of the arrears, the association risked becoming redundant. Members realized that there was strength in unity and therefore reasoned that they could transform their energy and unity into promoting the welfare of all former members, and above all mount sustained programmes to advice the course of parliamentary democracy in Ghana.
This idea, he said, was to create a political space for former MPs to engage in public debate, influence public policy, promote parliamentary democracy and create awareness on the role of parliament in their new democratic dispensation.
Hon. Kedem indicated that so far the association had gained immense support from Parliament and that has strengthen the association with a Memorandum Of Understanding (MOU) between the Association and Parliament.
He pointed out that among the objectives of the association were to promote knowledge and practices of constitutional, legislative, economic, social and cultural aspects of Parliamentary democracy in Ghana in particular and the world at large.
Also the Association was meant to promote, sustain and strengthen Parliamentary democracy in Africa, as well as to promote the interest of, and see to the welfare of former MPs in Ghana.
Hon. Kedem indicated that so far, the association had achieved a lot for members and these include the active creation and promotion of constitutional democracy through the media, conferences, seminars and workshops. Besides the association has also engaged and interacted with other democracy promoting NGOs as IDEC, IEA, COD and AWEPA.
Also, they had grown its flagship and facilitated the formation of Network for Former African Parliamentarians for Democracy (NeFAP-D) and one of their objectives in this regard is to promote, sustain and strengthen Parliamentary Democracy in Africa.
Also it has learnt much from other jurisdictions. He indicated that new MPs interested in the association could join for mentorship.
Source: S. O. Ankamah